Tagged With toys

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Jolie Kerr is a cleaning expert, advice columnist and author of the New York Times bestselling book, My Boyfriend Barfed In My Handbag ... And Other Things You Can't Ask Martha. Her flagship column, "Ask a Clean Person", debuted in 2011. Here on Lifehacker, we're launching a new iteration of it, focusing on parenting and all the messes it brings. 

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"Please help me find a replacement for a lost 'best friend'," a person who goes by piper2010cameron wrote in an online post. "I have searched everywhere." The description of the missing companion: A tiny stuffed tiger with orange and black stripes, a small triangular nose, and a fuzzy white belly. And then there came this heartbreaking line: "My poor kiddo has been asking why 'Itsy Bitsy' hasn't come home and it kills me."

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The PlayStation 4 just released a firmware update (5.50) that brought a ton of great features, such as comprehensive parental controls. Here's how you can set age restrictions for certain types of games and movies, set spending limits in the PlayStation Store, and regulate game time each day using the new Family Management feature.

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It's a heartwarming idea to bring out that beloved old bin of LEGO you played with as a child and hand it down to your kids so they can experience the same magic. But it's probably safer to find a newer set. Scientists in England tested 200 used plastic toys for nine hazardous elements, and found that ten per cent contained traces of all of them.

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My friend Karen says her son Christopher's devotion to garbage trucks began when he was around 18 months old. He would go nuts whenever he saw one. Karen tried to turn his attention to toy trains since that's what they had in the house, but he wouldn't have it. Garbage trucks. That was it.

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In a new study by researchers at the University of Toledo, toddlers who were given fewer toys played more creatively and were more engaged in their play than those who had many toys available. Mums and dads, this might be the time to remove that chicken robot, mustache plushie, emoji bingo set, and Spider-Man drone from your Amazon shopping cart. I'm sorry.

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You finally snagged the toy that's been on the top of your kid's Christmas wishlist for months - now you just have to wrap it up, shove it under the tree, and bask in parental pride. ("Fine work, me. Fine work.") Well, wait. Is the toy difficult to assemble? Because nothing quite dampens the giddy thrill of watching your kid rip open a gift only to open the box and learn that you must get through 57 indestructible plastic ties, follow 17 pages of wordless instructions, insert 12 batteries that you don't have (and now the stores are all closed), and wait five hours for some software to install. ("Here's a... um... pretty bow to play with, honey. This is going to take a while.")

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Inspired by games from the 2016 Self-Care Jam (which Kotaku mined for favourites), MetaFilter users recently named their favourite calming video games. Some will be familiar, but others are deep cuts by independent developers. Most aren't for winning or losing, just exploring, interacting and existing. None of them force you to battle other players in a tense show-down. Try these out if you're too stressed out for Overwatch or Plague Inc.

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My four-year-old daughter enjoys watching some great kids' shows including Noddy Toyland Detective, Ruby's Studio, Julie's Greenroom and so much Daniel Tiger, but once in a while, she'll ask to watch YouTube on the iPad or phone, and when I oblige, she smiles and gets this sneaky-looking glimmer in her eye. Uh oh, I'll think. Where is this going today?

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If you're desperate for distraction or want to get your friend's kid something that they will love but their parents might hate, an on-trend fidget toy is the way to go. While it's disputed whether or not they actually help to reduce anxiety or increase focus, fidgeting is a common human activity, and with some pocket-friendly fidget toys, you'll find yourself a distraction whether you've got your phone or not.

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So, you've been coerced into what seems like another no-win parenting scenario: It's LEGO time, and your aspiring Frank Lloyd Wright doesn't want your help in building an amphibious rainbow tank with 16 axles (plus wings). Even still, he's insisting on your participation because his genius must be witnessed (the brilliant ones are always so demanding).

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If your kids go to school, you surely know what fidget spinners are. These cute little gizmos have usurped loom bands and bottle flipping as the latest craze to hit Aussie classrooms. Unfortunately, they have a tendency to inexplicably jam, resulting in frustrated and angry tots. Here's how to get your kids' fidget spinner back in working order in three quick steps.